Through the artful interweaving of high-touch elements with a comprehensive menu of services, the William J. and Marian H. Busse Center for Specialty Medicine on the Northwest Community Hospital campus sets the tone for achieving measurably improved outcomes.

The Busse Center enabled the hospital to expand and upgrade their Centers of Excellence (cardiology, endoscopy, diagnostics, and breast health) and their laboratory on the first two floors, while providing suited medical offices to affiliated physicians on the remaining six floors.

The Busse Center anticipates patients' fundamental questions about where they need to go through design elements that provide subtle wayfinding cues in an intelligible, simple way.

Curving elements that echo the curtain wall's graceful arc, in concert with vibrant ribbons of color in the terrazzo floor, gently lead patients to their destinations. In the main lobby, the terrazzo pattern escorts patients to the open monumental stair, itself a visually dramatic link between the first two floors.

Such amenities as fine art, opulent furnishings, and a water feature contribute to the facility's elegant environment. The terrazzo's rich hues virtually sparkle in the sun; cherry and beech finishes glow in the warm light. Windows throughout the facility introduce natural light into the public spaces while providing panoramic cityscape views from the upper floors. The light enlivens clinical areas to calm those patients facing difficult procedures.

Behind the reception desks, patients meet with staff in HIPAA-compliant spaces separated by privacy screens. A wood-grid ceiling and soft lighting, enhanced by pendant fixtures, create an intimate space to reinforce patients' sense of privacy.

The overall effect reflects the high quality of care offered within the Busse Center to inspire patients' confidence and interest in their own role in the healthcare delivery process.

The Busse Center's cultivated surroundings have the added benefit of setting a new standard for enviable work space on the hospital campus. In addition to the healing amenities, staff and physicians have access to technologically advanced equipment and spaces designed to their practice needs. Appreciative of the convenience for their patients, physicians have responded favorably to their surroundings. The hospital and tenants enjoy the enhanced ability to retain staff in this competitive market.

Not only does it offer dramatically improved access to leading-edge care, the Busse Center has established the vision for future renovation and development on Northwest Community Hospital's high-growth campus.

Project category: Addition (completed September 2003)

Chief administrator: Bruce K. Crowther, Chief Executive Officer, (847) 618-5015

Firm: Marshall Erdman & Associates, (608) 218-6326

Design team: Dave Anderson, Midwest Regional Manager; Jim Bell, AIA, Project Architect; Rich Dunham, AIA, Project Designer; Katie Kunz, Interior Designer; Dan Zarnstorff, Site Designer

Photography: Mike Rebholz Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 187,306

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $158

Total construction cost (excluding land): $29,656,509